Gender Identity Discussion Handout

By  GALA Expert 

 August 8, 2023 

This handout offers six scenarios to consider how folks with various gender identities might experience singing with a GALA Chorus.


For each of the scenarios below:

  • Identify the issue/s surrounding equity, access and belonging present in this scenario. 
  • Reflect on how this situation may, or may not, be present in your own chorus. 
  • Brainstorm a range of possible responses to the scenario. In your chorus, whose responsibility is it to speak up and challenge, or support, the issue presented?
  • Record your conversations and responses for reporting back to the larger group.

Scenarios for Discussion

  1. The chorus Attire Committee for a TTBB chorus announces that the December holiday concert uniform is a tuxedo to ensure that no one is “distracting.” Two members of the bass section are trans women.
  2. A trans woman with a baritone range auditions to join the Femina Voce Women’s Chorus. She has a strong voice and reads music well. Her range is solid for most, but not all, of the A2 range. A woman on the Membership Committee tells her, “I have no idea if trans women can sing with us.”
  3. The chorus director refers to “ladies and gentlemen” during rehearsals rather than identifying sections by voice part because “there aren’t any trans people here.” 
  4. The director of the Harmonious LGBT Chorus is approached by a trans woman who requests to move to the alto section because singing as a bass does not match her gender identity. 
  5. Sarah auditions for a new LGBT chorus where several of her transmen friends sing. Sarah is new to her transition, and somewhat hesitant about introducing herself as Sarah. At her first rehearsal a friendly outgoing man comes up to her and says, “You don’t look like a Sarah.”
  6. Chris is new to town and looking for ways to meet LGBT folks. A gay co-work¬er recommends his LGBT mixed chorus. Being shy, Chris is nervous so her co-worker sticks by her side and offers information to help her get to know the community. He points out a middle-aged bearded man and says, “That’s Joe. He’s trans.”

Action Steps
What are some concrete steps your chorus could undertake to better address gender identity?